Featured News

County fair guidelines coming soon from DeWine Administration

This week Governor Mike DeWine announced a loosening of restrictions for upcoming events, including county fairs, when safety protocols are followed.

“The vaccines have given us great hope, but until we have enough Ohioans vaccinated, we must continue masking and social distancing,” Governor DeWine said. “Easing up on some prevention measures is intended to serve as a starting point. If the trajectory of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continues downward, we hope to be able to relax more of these measures. If it gets worse, we may have to tighten up.”

DeWine said new guidance for county fairs, along with other events including proms, banquets, wedding receptions, festivals, and parades is forthcoming. Sporting and entertainment events will be able to reopen with 25% maximum indoor capacity and 30% maximum outdoor capacity provided they follow established precautions such as mandatory mask wearing for employees and customers, spectator pathways that allow for social distancing, and seating in groups in six-foot intervals of no more than six people from the same household.… Continue reading

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Texas agriculture reeling after winter storm

By Matt Reese and Kolt Buchenroth

On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021 a cold front moved into southeastern Texas followed by some precipitation, which turned to ice. This set the stage for a series of winter weather events not seen in Texas in recent memory and likely the first global billion dollar disaster of 2021.

As expected, the strong Arctic cold front passed through Southeast Texas on Sunday (Valentine’s Day). It served as the turning point from a significant winter storm that preceded the front to the historic winter event that would eventually unfold,” according to the National Weather Service. “On Sunday, every square inch of Texas was in a Winter Storm Warning. Snow, sleet, and freezing rain began to encroach into Southeast Texas Sunday afternoon, and then increased in coverage and intensity overnight Sunday night into Monday. Thunder snow was reported near the town of Snook, Burleson County Sunday evening, and then thunder sleet occurred near the Brazoria and Galveston counties coastline Sunday night.… Continue reading

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Communication infrastructure leasing and purchase agreements

By Mike Estadt, Ohio State University Extension Educator in Pickaway County and Jeffrey Lewis, Research Specialist, OSU Ag and Resource Law Program

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed to rural Ohioans that broadband internet is no longer a luxury but a requirement for work, school, and daily activities. Recent legislation in the Ohio House of Representatives and policy from many organizations and governmental agencies are calling for the buildout of communications infrastructure to address the discrepancies in broadband technology.

One of the proposed alternatives is increased 5G cellular network coverage. Many current cell towers will be converted, but additional towers may be required to increase the range of this high-speed wireless technology. Landowners in deficient areas may receive inquiries into the purchase of or rental of a parcel of land to construct a tower on. The questions of how much is my land worth and should I sell it or lease the property will arise.… Continue reading

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Livestock manure properties and pollution prevention: Part 2

By Harold Keener, Fuqing Xu, Mary Wicks

In our February article (https://ocj.com/2021/02/98547/), we discussed how manure storage conditions can affect water soluble phosphorus, a contributor to algal blooms. This month we look at levels of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in stored manure.

NPK levels in livestock manures

Researchers evaluated NPK levels in stored manure using 2018-2019 data provided by a commercial laboratory. The data consisted of analyses of 55 dairy (milking), 397 poultry (layers) and 501 swine manure samples. Farm names and manure management details were not provided. However, 219 of the swine manure samples, which were provided from 91 contract farms using the same feed formulations and deep pit storage, were evaluated separately for comparison. The data was evaluated on a dry basis for comparison purposes as moisture content affects nutrient levels, with high moisture manure being subject to large errors when converted to a dry basis.… Continue reading

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Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week

Farm Bureaus across the nation are preparing for Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week, Feb. 28 through March 6. U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers will join Farm Bureau in promoting ag safety this week with the theme “Driving Safety Home.”

Farm Bureau and U.S. Ag Centers will focus on sharing information about a different safety area each day of ASAP Week:

Monday, March 1 – Farmer Roadway Safety (farmer perspective)

Tuesday, March 2 – Caretaker Support (caring for aging or ill family members)

Wednesday, March 3 – General Farmer Wellness (staying healthy overall)

Thursday, March 4 – Mental Health (coping with stress)

Friday, March 5 – Community Roadway Safety (motorist perspective) 

“As recent severe weather and coping with its aftermath continues to affect people across most of the country, focusing on safety becomes even more important on the farm and ranch,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president.… Continue reading

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Partnership to advance financial literacy in Ohio

Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague announced a partnership with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) to advance and expand the use of the college’s Real Money. Real World. financial literacy program statewide. The announcement coincides with the annual America Saves Week, which aims to raise awareness about financial literacy education while helping individuals to achieve financial stability. 

“Securing a sound and prosperous financial future for our state starts with our young people, and that means preparing them for the challenges that come later in life,” said Treasurer Sprague. “I’ve seen the benefits of the Real Money. Real World. curriculum first-hand, and the Treasurer’s office looks forward to working with Ohio State University Extension to reach more students and give them the personal finance skills needed to be successful.”

With the new partnership, the Ohio Treasurer’s office will assist OSU Extension with its outreach efforts to shine a brighter light on Real Money.… Continue reading

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Agriculture and the Biden Administration

By Matt Reese

With a new Administration in the White House comes a whole new set of challenges, concerns and opportunities for agriculture. What can U.S. agriculture expect moving forward with President Joe Biden?

Mary Kay Thatcher works in government relations for Syngenta. At the recent Ohio AgriBuisiness Association Industry Conference she offered some insights on what to expect from the Biden Administration with regard to agriculture. 

“I’m looking at Mr. Biden a lot like I looked at President Ford. You know when [Ford] was named president he had served in the House for 24 years, and as minority leader for nine of those years, so he knew people. He knew how the House operated,” Thatcher said. “President Biden has 36 years in the Senate. Until four years ago he was president of the Senate by virtue of being vice president. So my point is, he’s got a lot of friends on both sides of the aisle and he really is much more of a negotiator than he is an administrator, so I look for him to reach out and do as much bipartisan work as he can.” … Continue reading

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Using enterprise budgets to help determine which crop to grow

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

High market prices incentivize farmers to consider raising crops that they may not otherwise grow given lower prices. While the higher prices may make a crop more profitable than it had been; making a fair assessment of the profitability level in comparison to other crops is important. The use of the Ohio Crop Enterprise Budgets is a good starting point to compare all the variables involved.

“An enterprise budget provides an estimate of potential revenue, expenses and profit for a single enterprise,” said Barry Ward, Leader in Production Business Management at The Ohio State University. “The Ohio State University College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) has a long history of developing Enterprise Budgets that can be used as a starting point for producers in their budgeting process. The OSU enterprise budgets represent common, workable combinations of inputs that can achieve a given output.”

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CFAP deadline extended

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on USDA’s decision to extend the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) application deadline. AFBF sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting an extension for farmers and ranchers.

“AFBF applauds Secretary Vilsack for his swift response to our call for an extension to the CFAP application deadline. Coronavirus aid is a lifeline for farmers and ranchers who are suffering from losses due to the pandemic. Recent severe weather and the suspension of CFAP payments led to challenges and confusion surrounding the application process. The extra time will help ensure America’s farmers have the opportunity to apply for help.

“We encourage USDA to quickly complete its review of CFAP so resources can be distributed to the people who are working to feed families across the country.”… Continue reading

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Still time to be counted in the 2020 local food marketing practices survey

Farmers and ranchers still have time to respond to their 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS will continue to accept responses through April to ensure an accurate picture of U.S. local and regional food systems.  

“The Local Food Marketing Practices Survey is conducted in support of the growing demand for local and regional food systems,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “The data are vital to understanding the many benefits of this sector. They will inform industry decisions and assist producers, researchers, policymakers, USDA officials, and more. NASS is committed to giving producers every opportunity to be counted in this special study.”    

The 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey is part of the Census of Agriculture program and as such is required by federal law. These federal laws require producers to respond and USDA to keep identities and answers confidential. Over… Continue reading

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National use of livestock insurance products offered by USDA-RMA

By Elliott Dennis, Assistant Professor & Livestock Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Changes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance plan took effect on January 20, 2021, for the crop year 2021 and succeeding crop years. These changes included: (a) increasing livestock head limits for feeder and fed cattle to 6,000 head per endorsement/12,000 head annually and swine to 40,000 head per endorsement/150,000 head annually; (b) modifying the requirement to own insured livestock until the last 60 days of the endorsement; (c) increasing the endorsement lengths for swine up to 52 weeks; and, (d) creating new feeder cattle and swine types to allow for unborn livestock to be insured. These changes, in addition to the dramatic changes in subsidy levels and allowing premiums to be paid at the end of the coverage endorsement period, should significantly improve the use of LRP.… Continue reading

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Export demand

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

Corn demand from China has increased dramatically over the last few months causing corn to rally $2 per bushel from August lows. This chart shows how unprecedented China’s recent corn import demand has been compared to the last 60 years. 

Source: Matt Campbell

Currently the USDA estimates China will import 24 MMT (Million Metric Tons) of corn from all over the world this year. Some private forecasts indicate it could even exceed 30 MMT (1 MMT = approx. 40 million bushels). To put that into perspective, China has only imported about 75 MMT of corn TOTAL over the last 60 years. 

And for the last 6 years, of the 50 MMT of corn the US exports on average each year, only 2 MMT were sent to China (4%) each year. In the last 6 years the US hasn’t provided even half of China’s yearly import needs. … Continue reading

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Mature buck harvest on the rise

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

I hosted Kip Adams of the National Deer Association on Buckeye Sportsman earlier this month, and the organization’s Chief Conservation Officer had some interesting information to share. According to the organization’s 2021 Deer Report, hunters in the United States took more adult and mature bucks in the 2019-20 hunting season than ever reported, based on a near-record buck harvest of 2.9 million and a record 39% of those bucks estimated to be 3.5 years or older. 

“Hunters now shoot far more bucks that are at least 3.5 years old than 1.5 years,” said Adams, adding “This is very different from hunting seasons a decade or two ago.”

He explained that the steadily climbing percentage of 3.5-and-older bucks in the harvest is the result of steadily declining pressure nationwide on yearling bucks (1.5 years old). Only 28% of the 2019 antlered buck harvest was yearlings, the lowest rate ever reported.… Continue reading

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Growing the future of agriculture through Give FFA Day

Individuals in Ohio and across the country will make a difference in the lives of thousands of FFA members by participating in Give FFA Day during National FFA Week.
Ohio’s FFA community will have an opportunity to step up and support FFA and agricultural education through Give FFA Day on Thursday, Feb. 25. Funds raised will support various statewide programming including student award programs, the recruitment and retention of current and future agricultural educators, Ohio FFA Camp, the Ohio FFA officer team program and general activities and initiatives. Donors are able to designate their gift to whichever area matters to them most.
In addition, Sunrise Cooperative, an agricultural and energy cooperative located in Ohio, will match gifts, up to $25,000 total, to the Ohio FFA Foundation to help funds raised make twice the impact. For more than 90 years, the organization has strived to make a difference in students’ lives through agricultural education.… Continue reading

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Vilsack confirmed as Secretary of Ag


On Feb. 23 Tom Vilsack was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of Agriculture in a 92-7 vote. The confirmation demonstrated strong bipartisan support for President Joe Biden’s pick for the position. Vilsack previously held the position for eight years under President Barack Obama.

The news was welcomed by agricultural organizations ready to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture moving forward. 

“AFBF congratulates Tom Vilsack on his confirmation as the next Secretary of Agriculture. His strong track record of leadership and previous experience at USDA will serve rural America well,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Secretary Vilsack and I have spoken several times in recent weeks about opportunities and challenges facing America’s farmers and ranchers, and I look forward to close collaboration. We have a lot of work to do as we overcome obstacles created by the COVID-19 pandemic. We must commit to resuming CARES Act programs and continue to build on advances made in trade.… Continue reading

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Digging into soil compaction

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Soil compaction is a problem that almost every farm has, and no one likes to admit. Soil compaction is simply reduced porosity from a reduction of void spaces in the soil.

“Voids in the soil are caused by roots and by the seasonal freeze/thaw cycle,” said Scott Shearer, professor and Chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. “Ideal soils have 50% void space. Half of the void space should hold water, and half should be air space. Compacted soils lack these voids. If we don’t have that mix, that is when we see a negative impact to crop yield.”

Soil compaction can be caused by adverse weather conditions and heavy equipment. Operating smaller equipment and operating in dryer soil conditions reduces the chance of causing compaction.

“Compacted soils impact root growth.… Continue reading

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Conference to discuss progress on NW Ohio water quality efforts

In 20 counties across northwest Ohio, a team of water quality specialists is working with farmers to evaluate practices that promote soil health and reduce the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen entering waterways.

Part of the team’s work involves running field trials to determine the effects of applying varied rates of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium fertilizers to cropland. Extensive soil testing has been done on fields to see the how planting cover crops and minimally tilling the land affects soil health. And new water quality monitoring stations have been set up to show trends in nutrient runoff rates.

Farmers in northwest Ohio have been cooperative, said Heather Raymond, director of the Water Quality Initiative launched by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“Overall, there’s a desire to help,” Raymond said. “Farmers just want to make sure they’re not spending their money on something that doesn’t work.… Continue reading

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Agriculture Climate Alliance gaining momentum

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented on the increasing momentum behind an alliance co-founded by AFBF, the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, announced in a FACA news release.  

“We are encouraged that leaders in both the House and Senate are requesting more detailed guidance to achieve FACA’s climate goals and recommendations. It’s important that any new climate policies respect the people who will be impacted the most — farmers and ranchers. FACA’s 40-plus proposals demonstrate farmers and ranchers must be treated as partners as we work together to build on the impressive advances already achieved toward climate-smart farming.”

“We also welcome the 34 new members of FACA who represent farmers, agribusinesses, state governments and environmental advocates. The growth of alliance members from a wide range of industries shows we are on the right path toward protecting the environment while ensuring farmers and ranchers can continue growing healthy, affordable food for America’s families.” … Continue reading

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Soybean gall midge: How do you solve a problem you know little about?

By Megan Sever, Adapted from Crop and Soil Magazine, January -February 2021, American Society of Agronomy
A once‐in‐a‐lifetime situation has arisen in the upper Midwest, but it’s not the good one. Instead, it’s that a new species of pest has evolved —scientifically fascinating, but for farmers on the ground trying to combat it and save their fields, it’s terrifying.The soybean gall midge, a tiny bug identified as a new species in 2018, has already affected growers in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. And it’s threatening the $41 billion soybean industry in the U.S.

Scientists studying the soybean gall midge have far more questions than answers. Farmers, to date, have found zero management techniques to spare their crops — except for abandoning soybean crops altogether. But there is hope on the horizon, scientists say. They’re throwing everything they can at the research — more than two dozen open lines of inquiry at last count, from basic life‐cycle analyses to genome sequencing, says Justin McMechan, an entomologist and plant pathologist at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

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Ohio’s Country Journal & Ohio Ag Net Podcast |Ep. 193 | National FFA Week 2021!

Happy National FFA Week everyone! This week Matt and Dusty hose with guest, Allison Engel, Ohio FFA State Treasurer. Allison talks about what’s in store of the week and what to expect from Ohio FFA! Featured audio this week includes two interviews from Dale at the Ohio Pork Council with Bryan Humphryes and Cheryl Day. Matt has audio with Megan Howard from Meyer Hatchery. And Madi Kregel has audio with Joe Helterbrand, Ohio FFA State Secretary. … Continue reading

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